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University of Washington alumni give more than $5 million for business school's entrepreneurship program

SEATTLE, Jan. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The University of Washington announced today that the Michael G. Foster School of Business' Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will be named in recognition of alumnus Arthur W. Buerk. The naming of the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship was approved earlier today by the UW Board of Regents at their regularly scheduled meeting, to recognize Buerk's role in co-founding the center in 1991 and more than two decades of service and philanthropic support from Buerk and his wife, Sue.

Buerk received his bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Washington in 1958. He went on to lead a very successful career in the private sector that includes serving as president of both Shurgard and Northwestern Trust. Additionally, Buerk founded Seattle-based venture capital firm Montlake Capital.

James Jiambalvo, dean of the Foster School of Business, couldn't be more proud to have the business school be the home to the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship. "As a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Artie has told me on numerous occasions that there's no shortage of good ideas.  But we need leaders who can take those ideas and turn them into something special," said Jiambalvo. "With Artie and Sue's support of our entrepreneurship center – the Buerk Center – we'll create more entrepreneurial leaders, and we'll extend our reach through additional offerings to discover those young people who don't yet realize they have entrepreneurial DNA."

The center's efforts in entrepreneurial education and programming have earned a national reputation, including a top-10 ranking from Entrepreneur Magazine. The Buerks' $5.2 million gift will ensure annual operating income for the center in perpetuity, an investment with far-reaching benefits.  Preceding their latest commitment to the center, the couple established a separate endowment that continues to support faculty studying entrepreneurship at the Foster School.

In a recent survey of companies that launched via the center's annual Business Plan Competition, the responding 28 companies were employing nearly 650 people and generating revenues in excess of $92 million.

"One of our goals at the University is to help create jobs by propelling research and ideas out of our labs and classrooms and into the economy—doing so  by leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit and experience of our students, faculty and staff," said University of Washington President Michael Young. "Artie and Sue's wonderful gift is an investment deeply rooted in that spirit." 

The newly named Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship is housed in Dempsey Hall, the second of the Foster School of Business' two new buildings, which opened in September, 2012. More information about the center can be found at

SOURCE The University of Washington's Michael G. Foster School of Business

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